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tv   European Journal  PBS  November 14, 2011 6:30pm-7:00pm PST

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>> decision to reduce its financial issue for a referendum. more and more people are caught up in it and the homelessness is on the rise in britain. also in "european journal" today, russia as pro vince alpoor are putting their trust in vladmir putin as their next president. austria reels from a corruption scandal that seems to reach to the top. and as the frozen north thaws, greenland turns to horticulture. russian's ruling party seems certain to nominate vladmir
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putin as its presidential candif they do and they will, h will replace dmitry medvedev who will then replace him as prime minister. one might be tempted it had all be planned in advance. putin remains popular, even poor rural communities trust him to deliver on promises that have been broken before. >> this is a sleepy town with 20,000 residents in provincial russia, far away from moscow and the kremlin. this woman leads a modest life here. she and her husband and son have one room in a worker's dormitory and share a bath and a kitchen with the other tenants. the dormitory belongs to the local factory where she works. she earns the equivalent of 250 euros a month.
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>> we can't afford an apartment of our own and no one would approve a loan for us. how could we pay it off with our wages? that's why we live here. and that's how things will remain for a long time. we have no prospects of a better life at the moment. >> most people here are in similar situations. they are earn little money and are glad to have a job at all. this plant dominated life in the city in soviet times. now the plant has been turned into three different companies, each owned by a different russian oligarch. two years ago when the financial crisis hit russia, the factories had problems. wages were not paid for months and many workers were let go. the whole town took to the streets in protest including
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this worker. she stood in the rape in front of the plant for days waiting for the only man she thought could help, vladmir putin. >> we waited with determination until he finally came. we were all cold and wet, but we got to see putin. he came out of the plant and walked straight over to the people alone. his bodyguards remained in the background. and putin came to us and talked to us. >> the union representatives says putin rescued the plant. she was there two years ago when putin, like a good czar criticized the oligarchs on camera. the incident on the internet was very popular. >> we were all glad that putin came. we might not have been able to rescue the plant without him, or maybe we could have. anyway, none of our local
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politicians cared about our problems before he came. the impact of putin's intervention was short-lived. the people here have very low wages and there are rooms that the plant could again lay off workers. even here hopes that putin will help them again if he becomes president including this woman who has a grocery store in town. like most businesspeople mere, she is in constant battle with the bureaucracy and other officials. she doesn't putin for that although he has been at russian's helm for 11 years. >> he is a good person and good character. when i listen to him, i believe him and so does my whole family. >> most people here think the same way and those who don't according to this woman keep it to themselves, a fear of losings their jobs.
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the way putin overrode civil liberals oppressed the opposition. she says the people here have no time for that. we asked her whether she thinks her own life will improve if putin is back in the kremlin. >> i don't think so. in our country, the rich have all of the advantages. the ordinary people get ripped off. as soon as things start looking better for us, more burdens are placed on us again. >> like many people here, she would love to leave, but where would she go? this town is like thousands of others in russia and in each of them, people hope that one day putin will show up and solve their problems.
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>> a corruption scandal have gripped usia's political classes with details of businesspeople getting kickbacks for backing politicians an even bags stuffed with cash changing hands in back alleys. the current chancellor has been implicated that it may be worse under his predecessor. a furious public is demanding answers but they fear they are being taken for a ride. >> they love basking in the glory of the old empire and all the world loves a wallace. but -- waltz, but these days, everything resolved around one thing. usia is sinking in a swamp of unprecedented corruption scandals. this man has long had his eye on these scandals. he says the prime suspects are at the very top starting with the current chancellor, a social democrat.
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>> the accusation against the chancellor is that he had advertisements placed in newspapers at the taxpayers' expense to create a better relationship with those papers and more favorable news reporting. >> he says it's all grossly exaggerated, but he is alleged to have spent millions for his own benefit. it may be that the transgressions are minor compared to the cabinet of his predecessor, a conservative, which was steeped in scandals. the damage is to said to have amounted to billions. one example was an affair where in partially privatizing a state-owned company, they sold off thousands of apartments to a property group. it's said to have been given inside information about how much the competitors were bidding. >> since not many people knew about the competing companies' bids, suspicion falls on a relatively small group.
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the former finance minister is one of them. >> fiedler is referring to the finance minister, but the minister denies having given information on the competition's bid to middle men including one who was best man at his wedding. he did know and was to believed to have informed others. asked if he exploited his close relationship, he answered that as his friend, he would not do such a thing. although he is said to have received millions, he supposedly no longer remembers where his information came from. has this become a normal way of doing business in austria? >> in austria, we have a very casual way of dealing with corruption. many practices that are criminal offenses in other countries are still tolerated here whether with a wink or a nod or the knowledge that they're not actually right but
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nothing will be done about them. >> years of cronyism have led to an image problem. austriaans think they're capable of anything, including passing on information just to enrich themselves. >> i don't trust politicians at all. >> these people think only of themselves. there is something wrong with that. >> the defenders are dealt with too lightly. they're not minor, they're serious and large sulls of money are usually involved. >> everything is slowly coming to light. one of the lobbyists involved has come clean and the increasingly critical media are making an effort to uncover scandals.
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now, parliament has to deal with the corruption. but will the government cooperate? a member of the green party who heads the gative committee has run into obstacles. >> i call on the ministries to deliver the documents to us as soon as possible uncensored and in the greatest possible detail. >> the amount of work is enormous. the committee wants to clear up at least six corruption scandals, but the wheels of justice grind slowly. >> things should be going much faster. the cases stretch out over years and that leads to anxiety among the population because people get the impression those concerned will get away with it somehow. and that's not the case.
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>> to curb nepotism in usia, democratic structures will have to be ainge -- anchored on much stronger foundations. >> all over britain, homeless people fell big issue, earning a little money and a lot of self-respect. it was the third such specialized paper and has been celebrating. there was a nighttime walk that few see and as the crisis kills off well paid city jobs, more and more people are joining their ranks. >> her place is in the middle of the garden in london's theater district. but her stage is in front of the theater entrances and she works hard to get an audience. every evening billy sells copy of the big issue.
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many passersby are regular customers. because she is quite a charmer, she usually needs more copies after a few hours. she doesn't have to go far for them. a delivery team goes wherever it's needed. 20 years ago, "the big issue "was europe's first homeless people's newspaper. today it is still as fresh as it is successful. >> you buy 10 and you go down and keep your 10 and you up making more off it. this magazine keeps a lot of my friends out of prison. it stops them from begging and shoplifting. >> that concept is more timely today than ever before because while the bankers in the city are back to claiming their bonuses, all around them, more and more british people are homeless. their number has increased by more than 23% since the beginning of the year. for its 20-year anniversary, "the big issue" organized a night march here in the banking district, the starting point of
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the 15 kilometer route was the market in the early evening when the traders often stop off for a drink after work. today the real world intruded on their lives, a world that they clearly regard as a disturbance. >> these folks i think sometimes don't realize how close they are to being homeless, you know. one minute you might have a stable job. >> the night march is also a protest against policies that protect banks, but push the average citizen closer to the brink. the participants take their way through nocturnal london where increasing poverty is visible anywhere for those willing to open their eyes to it. billy, who has sold "the big issue" for the 17 years is at the head of the march. she knows that people have to help themselves. >> a couple months before cameron was elected, i remember him standing up in my office,
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he said if i'm elected i'm doing this for the homeless. 18 months, what has he done? he hasn't done much but close things down. >> recently they have been turning up everywhere on london streets, especially at night, people who haven't been here long, people who have become victims of the recession. toby was a recover until june of this year. then the jobs dried up. first they slowed. then they vanished completely. >> it's just the whole world has been ripped from you just in a blink of an eye, it just goes. i had two cars, nice big property, nice big garden, children, happy relationship and in a blink of an eye, it just all goes. it's gone as quick as a flash. >> his wife took the children and left him. the house and all its furnishings went to the back. toby even couldn't take a sleeping bag with him.
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>> nothing left to do. people are so scared. no money. no money, no work. >> for two months, he slept in backyards and building entrances. then he got lucky. the open house in south london, a private initiative took him in. he was lucky given his circumstances because its director, an shakeable idealist has had to turn away almost 2,000 people since the beginning of the year. >> we're seeing definitely a new type of person coming in now. it's not a very nice thing to say, but it's a better class of homeless person coming in now, people who had occupations, have families and reasonable well paid jobs and suddenly found themselves becoming homeless which was quite a rarity until the last few months, the last six months or so. >> there was a chap in here, but he is gone now, a real
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struggle to cope with. myself, he just -- it's amazing, you can go from one extreme to another so quickly. >> the room toby has been living in for three months is six square meters in size. toby is determined to make his way out of it. he doesn't want to end up on the street permanently like so many others. the night march ended at 3:00 in the morning at tower bridge. to billy, it was all in all, a very positive experience. >> yeah, i think a few people i have smoked to, actually, wow, you don't see so much what goes on in the day, you actually see it at night. a few people i have spoke to, i think this walk is going to change their perspective towards homelessness, yes. >> which could be a good thing in a country where the gap between rich and poor seems increasingly difficult to
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bridge. >> the catholic church may be losing its traditional influence in poland. janusz palikot's new party has come from nowhere to take 41 seats in the lower house with 10% of the vote. he is determined to curb the church and the state. he is gaining support from the young voters who feel led down by the unfulfilled promises of change and reform. >> janusz palikot wants the small crucifix above the door in the polish parliament to go. he says it has no place here. he is a political firebrand and right now a very soughtafter man in poland. his new party called palin's movement had 10% of the votes in the election. he is followed by reporters wherever he goes. he says his party represents the new left. a wealthy entrepreneur, he has a degree in philosophy and his
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call to have the crucifix removed from parliament has divided the nation. >> it's the worst thing that could happen to us in poland. it's a catholic country. >> it's a good idea to get rid of the crucifix. there should be a separation. >> it's a stupid idea. with proposals like that, he'll lose all of his voters. >> the crucifix has hung in the same place since 1997. it was put there by members of solidarity in recognition of the close ties between the protest movement and the catholic church. in contrast, palin is staunchly anti-clerical. that's a controversial stance in poland. >> i don't think this is a provocative demand. the constitution clearly states that there is a separation between church and state and that the state should not exert any religious influence. >> palin is famous for publicity stunts. he once appeared with a butchered pig's head on a talk show to talk about corruption in the polish football
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association. at the time, he was a member of the prime minister's center right civic platform. he left it in 2010 to found the movement of support later renamed palin's movement. his campaign included a call to legalize marijuana. he dismisses claims that he can't be taken seriously. >> what we can't to do is build up the sort of left wing liberal party that hasn't ever existed in poland before. the old left is in crisis. we want to develop a broad-based left wing platform and win the election in four years' time. >> palin won't win a majority. most people see him as too radical, someone like him who swims against the stream doesn't have it easy. >> palin's party is still in its infancy. today, he is looking at new premises for the party headquarters. there is still much to be done,
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but what he does have is a political strategy. >> we aim to push a number of new laws through parliament. the governing coalition has only a small majority which means it often has to depend on our support, so that means we can push through our demands such as recognition of same-sex partnerships and public funding for in vitro fertilization. >> palin isn't the only colorful character in his party. this is the country's first transexual lawmaker. and there is robert, the country's first openly gay m.p. both see their election as evidence that change is in the air in poland. >> it gives us the opportunity to discuss certain issues openly and also to keep an eye
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on the coalition partners. >> palin's movement is especially popular with younger voters who see conservative parties dominated with catholic values with which they don't identify. so is palin's movement ushering in a new era of change? >> it can bring about change in poland, not necessarily because the party will introduce a more liberal world view to long suffering poland, but because it would prompt the country to start discussing certain issues more openly. >> it's too early to tell whether there is more to palin's movement than a knew colorful politicians. they have grabbed headlines but hard work lies ahead for them. >> much of greenland is covered with ice to a depth of up to three kilometers. according to nasa, that ice
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sheet is disappearing at the rate of 100 billion tons a year with icebergs breaking away to cause a ha zard for shipping. it's home to 57,000 souls. as greenland starts to turn greener, new opportunities open up for some of them. farmers can already grow potatoes there and they're even experimenting with strawberries. >> for millions of years, these icebergs off the coast of greenland were unchanged, but during the past decade, the temperatures rose by 1 1/2 degrees celsius on average. now the ice is beginning to shift. we visit the ice patrol which observes those ships from the air. this man records the movements of the ice off greenland's southern coast for maritime traffic. he still goes out in a helicopter to do so. >> they have tried to do it by satellite, but it was too difficult to see the ice in the
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narrow sounds and the fjords because of the steep mountains. >> so the ice patrols, small helicopter takes off at least twice a week. this time carson and his pilot tom take us along on their spectacular job. carson asks the pilot to fly towards greenland's largest potato farm. he tells us that's the place to go if we want to see the effects of climate change. this farmer is a bit frantic. we have arrived right in the middle of hay making. he won't be able to dig up some of their potatoes for us until later. the family started cultivating
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potatoes on the shores of this icy bay in 1997. since then, the growing season has been longer almost every year. the last harvest amounted to a record 93 tons. he says his family is profiting from global warming. he doesn't think the threats it poses are especially dramatic. >> the increasing warmth helps us. the problem is a lack of rain. this year for the first time in quite a while, there was enough rain. if temperatures continue to rise, we'll plant other kinds of vegetables such as broccoli. >> the experimental farm, greenland's agricultural research station, is just a few kilometers away. this is its head gardener. he is doing something we're certain will make news around world in a few months. he has managed to grow strawberries in greenland for
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the first time. next summer he expects a harvest of 1,500 killos, a result of climate change in the arctic. >> there has been a change. i know because i look into the delta and if you look at the statistics from 2000 to 2010, it's average temperature has raised every year, not only in the summer, but also in the winter. >> he says that in 20 years, if temperatures continue to rise like this, there will be apples, too, but maybe no icebergs. >> how long before the coconut bombs go in, i wonder? experts say if the whole greenland ice sheet will melt, it will raise six meters. when they race those species,
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the rest of us may be under water. until next time, goodbye.
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